What is the Army's Network Integration Technology Enhancement (NITE) Program
NITE is an acronym for Network Integration Technology Enhancement and was formerly known as 5GTI (5th Generation Technical Insertion) Increment One. While NITE represents an essential development for the state of the Army’s tactical communications stack, it is only an element of increment one of four of the Army’s larger network modernization project. To explain NITE’s role in the Army Tactical Network, the scope of the Army’s Network Modernization must be understood.
Army’s Network Modernization Program
The objective of the program is to simplify the Army’s network incrementally. To do this, the Army is adopting hardware and software that streamline network initialization and management while also increasing capabilities. The program is governed by PEO C3T (Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical). With a targeted completion date of 2028, PEO C3T aims to establish a network that is expeditionary, mobile, hardened, and easy to use.
Modernization of the Army Tactical Network is necessary due to the rapid evolution of commercial technology. Commercial technology has enabled peer adversaries to integrate and field technology that exceeds capabilities available to U.S. Army soldiers. These technologies present a real and immediate threat to the U.S. Army’s current tactical infrastructure. Today’s warfighters face challenges unforeseen by previous generations.
In the past, when components of the network approached End of Life (EOL), they were replaced with new equipment of the same type/form. This practice produced a large number of versions to track and only addressed the individual components versus the entire Configuration Item (CI). This was not ideal in advancing the network.
The EOL policy, combined with lengthy validation, procurement, and fielding processes, consumed precious time and produced a complex mix of outdated products in the field. In tandem with meeting current demands, this is what the network modernization strategy aims to fix.
Unfortunately, our current network is too complex, fragile, not sufficiently mobile nor expeditionary, and one that will not survive against current and future peer threats, or in contested environments. We find ourselves in a position now, within a new environment and facing new challenges, where our network is not user-friendly, intuitive, or flexible enough to support our mission in the most effective manner and demands a heavy reliance on industry field service representatives to operate and sustain these systems.
NITE: Piece of Increment One
NITE represents a slice of Increment One to modernizing the network. Increment One addresses Networking-At-The-Halt. NITE will decrease the SWaP, complexity, resiliency, scalability, and setup time of units, in turn, allowing for increased mobility.
Programs included in NITE
The Network Integration Technology Enhancement (NITE) will refresh end-of-life (EOL) at-the-halt Tactical Network Transport equipment in the Tactical Hub Node (THN), Joint Network Node (JNN), Command Post Node (CPN), and Regional Hub Node (RHN).
The Army expects to meet SWaP demands through reduced reliance on hardware. Software and virtual machines (VMs) will replace the nixed equipment, significantly reducing the system’s footprint and complexity.
The introduction of more VMs will increase the computing power of the new system by over 200 percent while maintaining a decreased energy requirement. Reduced energy requirements allow the system to be run using a single-vehicle. Incumbent systems required a large generator to meet power demands. This contributed to a greater thermal footprint and increased risk of exposure.
2019: Army Pilot Program
A pilot of network architecture that encompasses NITE was held in mid-2019 by the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. REDCOM provided the session controller component of the pilot in the form of REDCOM Sigma.
2020: REDCOM receives contract from the U.S. Army’s PEO C3T for NITE and more
The contract will see REDCOM software deployed to numerous product managers within Project Manager Tactical Networks (PM TN). Under PdM Mission Network, REDCOM Sigma is part of the Network Integration Technical Enhancement (NITE) modernization effort that will refresh the Army’s fielded Tactical Network Transport – At-The-Halt (TNT-ATH) equipment and be received by four infantry brigade combat teams starting next year. Supporting the Army’s Capability Set 23 efforts to provide on-the-move (OTM) network connectivity to armored brigade combat teams (ABCTs) REDCOM Sigma is included in the Tactical Network Transport – On-The-Move (TNT-OTM) prototype integrated into ABCTs and OTM configurations integrated on a variety of tactical vehicles.